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Planning your trip abroad with a dog: Getting the right forms to fill out

I’ll write more tomorrow about the things we had to do to get Chloe set up for her upcoming trip to Paris — this is a more general post about where to get the paperwork you need for any international trip with your dog. Everything I’d read told me to contact the U.S. embassy of the country I was planning to visit to find out what’s needed for a trip to that country with a dog, but that turns out to be bad advice. According to the vet tech at my veterinarian’s office who does the paperwork for a lot of traveling clients, embassies do not always have the most current information.

She recommends instead going to the USDA website for the forms you need, and following up with a phone call to the USDA for any recent updates and tips. Here’s what you do. When you arrive at the USDA website, click on “Travel and Recreation,” under the “Topics” tab. Click on “Pet Travel,” and on the resulting page, click the “More” button in the “Pet Travel” paragraph — you’ll be taken to a page of useful info. The first link under “Travel Abroad” takes you to APHIS’s international regulations page. Scroll down to the “List of Countries” and click on the appropriate letter to find the country you’re visiting.

I was confident that my vet’s office had called for the most recent updates, but if you’re not, you might want to call your local USDA office (here’s the link that gives you the location and contact info for your state’s USDA office) and make sure you are absolutely current. Your state’s USDA office will also give you important tips, like the instruction to fill out your forms in blue ink, not black ink.

Please note: When I began this process, I went to and ordered, for $8.50, the “pet passport forms” they offer for France. What arrived was a sheet of basic instructions, a cardboard folder to store documents in, and a one-page “Veterinary Certificate for Domestic & International Airline Travel” that bore little resemblance to the document you actually need, provided by the USDA on its website for free. Although is normally a good resource, I cannot recommend it as a source for international pet travel forms.

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  • Jerry

    Apparently when we filled this customers order we forgot to include the EU form 998 for France which is a normal part of the pet passport package for France. I am sorry the customer did not contact us as we would have sent it out immediately.

  • Thank you for your comment, Jerry — perhaps that would have helped, but I had no way to tell that anything was missing from the packet I received. You might consider including a contents list in your packets, so customers can double-check that they have all the materials they ordered?

  • Jerry

    The person leaving the original blog had a good suggestion and that is to include a table of contents of each pet passport package. That is being implemented. Pet Passports sells its forms through the and has been doing so for over five years. We are nearly the only source for up to date information on 15 countries around the world.

  • simone

    What I just found out today is that you bring only the paperwork from your vet to the USDA not the actual Pet….(um …is it just me..?)
    also, print out the form from their website YOURSELF! A gentlemen next to me had the wrong form all filled out by his vet but it was not accepted and he has to come back…..grrrr….

  • Anni

    Hi! I needed to comment on your website because your blog was a life saver for me and for my pomeranian puppy! Im Finnish but now visiting here at the States for a longer time. We got our puppy in October so she is now 6,5 months. 3 weeks ago we had our first flights to Finland with Lufthansa and Finnair and yesterday we flew back. With the help of your blog our trip was great! I ordered that Sleepypod air carrier for her and she LOVED it! There was no problem with the carrier and I didnt even compress the ends to make the carrier smaller during take off and landing. Staff at Lufthansa were amazing and they came over to me every hour to make sure that she was fine. Thank you again for your posts they really made me feel more comfortable before and during our flights!

  • That is the kind of comment that FUELS me, Anni — thank you so much!!! I’m thrilled that everything went well for you and the pup — hope it’s the first of many great trips together!

  • Interesting question today from a reader who’s visiting the U.S. and will be returning to Europe shortly: “If I were to visit a vet in NJ, can I have all the paperwork endorsed by the USDA in the state of NY instead of in NJ? Or does the USDA of x state need to be the one endorsing health certificates issued by the vets of their states?” So I called my local USDA office and learned that the answer is “maybe” — it depends on what states your state has reciprocity with. WA has reciprocity with OR and AK, but not, for example, with CA. (I missed office hours, darn that time difference, so I couldn’t get a definitive answer for the reader, but the signs look good: the same vet is listed as the USDA/APHIS contact for NY and NJ.) Here’s the current list of head honcho USDA/APHIS vets, state by state:

  • One more update about that question a reader raised about getting paperwork endorsed in a different state: I also consulted my local USDA vet, who’s been wonderful about taking time with questions like these, and he told me that the New York USDA/APHIS office is in Albany — far from NYC — so my reader will need to FedEx the forms (and enclose a FedEx return envelope). And if that’s the case, she might as well FedEx the stuff to the NJ office instead, which will be equally convenient/inconvenient as Albany. Factor in the turnaround time to your travel plans, I told my reader, and urged her to talk everything through with the USDA folks over the phone so she’s sure that she’s sending them what they want to receive, from a USDA certified vet, so there’s no time-consuming hitch.

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